In planning for our book "Public Journalism 2.0: The Promise and Reality of a Citizen Engaged Press," (due out from Routledge early in 2010) we thought it would be interesting and appropriate to use some of the techniques of online participatory journalism in exploring the practice. If we're shifting to an era when "news is a conversation," then why not apply the same principle to research about the process?
To that end, we developed the idea of a chapter for each unit of the book called "Open Source," featuring interviews with experts in civic journalism about their thoughts on the field's evolution. The name "Open Source" came from the idea that not only the authors but the other contributors would supply interview questions, and also from the idea that comments about the completed interviews would be part of the final publication.
Well, the interviews have been done with with three individuals whose names should be recognizable to anyone familiar with civic and citizen journalism: Lewis Friedland of the University of Wisconsin, Tanni Haas of City College of New York and Jan Schaffer of J-Lab at American University. Lew was interviewed by telephone and Jan and Tanni replied in writing to a series of questions. And now comes the "open source" comment part of it: We have posted the interviews on a blog and hope to collect comments that will be incorporated into the published version of the book.
If you are interested in looking at and perhaps even commenting on these interviews, the blog with the transcripts and comment areas can be found at http://publicjournalismbook.blogspot.com. (You will need a free Blogspot account to make comments. If you don't have one, information about obtaining one can be found at the blog site.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please recognize that by making a comment you are authorizing its inclusion in the published book, and also be aware that we reserve the right to edit for clarity and space. Anonymous comments will be rejected.
We are hoping to wrap up this portion of the project by May 15, so the comments will be available until then. The questions developed with the help of our contributors are interesting, and the answers provided by Lew, Jan and Tanni are informative and illuminating. Please take a few minutes to check them out and add your voice to the conversation.
Burton St. John III
(If you have any questions, use e-mail link with our names at the right)